The week started off well for the Habs but a loss in Buffalo eliminated any of the enthusiasm around the team. Things were better for the IceCaps who picked up three wins out of their four games. Plus, with the trade deadline approaching, Devante Smith-Pelly may be one to keep an eye on; that’s the focus of my Final Thought.
Cheers and Jeers
1) A second legitimate option on the power play. Alex Galchenyuk is looking more and more comfortable on his off-wing with the man advantage each game and it’s starting to result in some goals. The Habs have been in dire need of a second option beyond point shots from P.K. Subban. This could finally be that other legitimate threat they’ve been coveting.
2) Sven Andrighetto. He hasn’t spent much time on an offensive line this year (short of a few games on line two) so it was particularly noteworthy when he got a shot on Max Pacioretty’s line. How would he respond to a bigger role? Two goals in his first game up there is a pretty nice way to start.
3) The new top line of Galchenyuk-Plekanec-Gallagher. To be fair, it’s not exactly new as they were together earlier in the year but they have been terrific since being reunited. Plekanec was really scuffling before but now he looks more engaged out there. Galchenyuk is playing with a lot of confidence while Gallagher is his usual self and complements the other two well. I suspect Michel Therrien won’t be looking to break them up for a bit, even if the other lines get juggled.
1) Continuing to take weak opponents lightly. The Habs decided to pick up their play against Buffalo only when it was 4-1. Even against teams near the bottom of the standings, three goal deficits are hard to come back from. They’ve done it now twice with Buffalo and twice against Columbus in recent weeks. The players claim that the team is better than their recent record. At some point, they need to prove it by actually going out and winning these types of games.
2) P.K. Subban’s late game tantrum against Buffalo. Yes, the linesman essentially stopping the puck for Evander Kane was very frustrating. That does not give any player the right to give up on the play and begin yelling at the officials while the play is still on though. If you want to question or even yell at the referee (which wasn’t really necessary either way, that play happens several times a season), at least wait until the whistle has blown so as to not make it any easier for Kane to hit the empty net. And then don’t compound the problem by criticizing the linesman after the game. That one will come back to bite him at some point.
3) Torrey Mitchell’s offensive disappearance. Part of the reason he got a long-term deal in the offseason is that Mitchell can produce more offence than a typical fourth liner. He did just that in October with five goals. Since then, he has just one in 33 games. No one’s saying he has to score at October’s pace but his current level is far from sufficient.
Goals: Max Pacioretty (20)
Assists: P.K. Subban (39)
Points: P.K. Subban (44)
+/-: Gallagher/Subban (+7)
PIMS: P.K. Subban (65)
Shots: Max Pacioretty (215)
Despite a heavily-weakened roster up front due to injuries and recalls, the IceCaps had a successful week, taking three of four games to close off this home stand.
News and Notes:
– John Scott returned to the lineup after being away for the birth of his twin daughters. However, as he returned, another player went down as Gabriel Dumont was injured Saturday against Toronto.
– Dalton Thrower, after being a scratch in every game since being recalled, was sent back to Brampton of the ECHL.
– Darren Dietz is in a bit of an offensive funk. He hasn’t recorded a point in twelve straight games and has only recorded a point in two of his last 19.
– With a seven point week, Bud Holloway has moved all the way up to a tie for 5th overall in AHL scoring. A random side note, one of the players he’s tied with – Brendan Ranford – was cut by the Hamilton Bulldogs back in 2013.
– Lines from last game:
Hudon – Scherbak – Holloway
Bozon – McCarron – Friberg
McNally – MacMillan – Ranger
Scott – Miceli – Bakker
Bartley – Ellis
Hanley – Lernout
Johnston – Dietz
|20||Jacob de la Rose||1||0||0||E||2||0|
Goals: Charles Hudon (16)
Assists: Bud Holloway (29)
Points: Bud Holloway (44)
+/-: Morgan Ellis (+12)
PIMS: Michael McCarron (77)
Shots: Bud Holloway (121)
February 17: St. John’s vs Syracuse
February 19: St. John’s vs Binghamton
February 20: St. John’s vs Binghamton
With the trade deadline now just two weeks away (and yes, the trade odds will be back starting this week), there are a few players who will be on the hot seat a little more than usual. One of those players is Devante Smith-Pelly.
Since being acquired, it’s fair to say that the 23 year old has underachieved. He hasn’t played with much consistency, hasn’t produced a lot, and has spent a fair bit of time in the press box. However, with Dale Weise being a pending UFA and someone that could be traded this month, this is Smith-Pelly’s best opportunity to show that he’s worthy of a slightly bigger role.
With the roster the way it is, Smith-Pelly probably will still sit a game or two between now and the deadline. When he gets his chance to play though, his performance should go a long way towards determining part of what Marc Bergevin does. If he plays well (he has been better the last few weeks in general), perhaps that makes Bergevin more open to moving Weise (which is far from a guarantee, I suspect). If not, the team may be more inclined to move Smith-Pelly out instead and hold on to Weise.
It’s not often that we should really pay close attention to what Smith-Pelly does in a fourth line role but he’ll be one to keep a closer eye on between now and the end of the month.